George Tenet has kept a low public profile since he stepped down as the country’s intelligence chief in July. But it turns out that he has had a lot to say, reports the New York Times. In the past few months, the former CIA director has earned well over $500,000 in speaking fees from about 20 appearances, associates said. He is negotiating a book contract. But when he speaks to large groups, he does so only under ground rules intended to keep his remarks off the record.
Tenet has tried to tread a delicate line, defending beleaguered intelligence agencies and his own performance while steering clear of a more overt debate. He has repeatedly sidestepped questions about the wisdom of the war in Iraq. Tenet has said virtually nothing in public since his resignation, a four-month period in which the Senate Intelligence Committee, the 9/11 commission and the top American weapons inspector in Iraq have all delivered reports critical of the Central Intelligence Agency’s performance on Iraq and terrorism, and in which Congress has been considering an overhaul of American intelligence. In that period, Tenet declined all requests for interviews and has limited his public comments to a single written statement, issued in August that was sharply critical of a proposal that would have dismantled the C.I.A.